Sean Kenney: Art with LEGO bricks
Microsoft Cloud city     ‹ Back to portfolio
Photo of Microsoft Cloud city
48 x 48 x 18        28,321 LEGO elements.        Completed June 25, 2012

Commissioned by Microsoft, this diorama shows how their cloud technology works: Electricity is generated at a hydro-electric dam, powering a huge state of the art datacenter. The people can use the services at offices, in the park, at cafes, and at home. This city has a footprint of 16 square feet and contains 28,321 LEGO pieces.

See it explained!
Using this model, watch as a Microsoft technician explains how it all works.

Watch me build it!
Photographed over the course of an entire month, watch this giant LEGO city come together before your very eyes:

The datacenter

The heart of the diorama is the data center. Microsoft was very particular in explaining to me exactly how their data centers are physically configured... shipping containers filled with servers, classic rack-mount systems, backup generators in the basement, super mega cooling systems with pipes everywhere... all of it was faithfully recreated from photos of real data centers.

... And since all the services are in the cloud, no one needs their old dusty servers anymore :)

Building it

The diorama is 4 feet wide, 4 feet long, 1.5 feet tall, and was built with 28,321 LEGO pieces over the course of 5 weeks. My assistants Ji Yoon and Jung Ah helped design some of the buidlings and the dam; They're not replicas of real-life buildings, but they take their design cues from the typical architectural styles of real office buildings, single family homes, and small downtown buildings.